The application of Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) to future space missions has the potential to significantly improve the safety and reliability of the flight and lower the cost of re-use vehicles. However, this application is extremely challenging for two main reasons: the harsh space environment and the high level of safety requirements imposed by the space industry.

The SI&HM group’s research objective relevant to space application has been focused on:

  • Development of SHM technologies that survive the operational conditions of a launch vehicle.
  • Development of SHM methodologies to assess the suitability for re-use of primary systems for re-entry vehicles.

On the computational side, the efforts have been focused on:

  • To develop a numerical tool for modelling hyper-velocity impact, representing space debris/meteorite impact events
  • Design a smart structure + shield to detect and categorize impact event based on SHM systems.

Relevant research projects: Material aspects on re-usability of space transportation hardware, funded by European Space Agency, with an international consortium consisting of Fluid Gravity Engineering Ltd (FGE), Imperial College London (ICL) and MT Aerospace AG (MTA).